Archive | April 2013

Dragon Munchies: A Whole Tale in Just One Bite

Super short original tales to snack on

by Rebekah Postupak  

Dragon Munchies

The Door

by Rebekah Postupak

for the Trifecta writing challenge

(333 words exactly)

In her parents’ will was a car door. Like it wasn’t already inconsiderate enough of her parents to up and die shortly after Sasha’s twentieth birthday—but they left her a door, and that’s it? It wasn’t even a pretty door, just a 1970s green one with the kind of window you have to crank up and down like a ten-pound free weight.

Sasha grumbled about it to her friends (or, more accurately, to the one friend who still listened long after everyone else’s eyes had rolled back into their heads). Truthfully, she complained to anyone with ears.

“I was counting on that money for college!” she said. She dabbed at her eyes before adding hastily, on seeing her therapist’s raised brow, “I mean, after I tragically found out about their deaths and heroically decided I should go.”

“Maybe the door is meant symbolically,” said Sam the Mailman, handing her a bill from Macy’s.

“It’s the door to a new you!” her personal trainer said. “The door of possibility.”

Sasha sniffed. “More like the door of inconvenience.”

“Why are you hanging on to the door, then?” asked her therapist some months later. “Let’s talk about that for a minute.”

“Shouldn’t we talk some more about how my parents stiffed me?” said Sasha, sending Dark Thoughts toward the door, which was now leaning quite comfortably against the wall.

“Your dime,” said the therapist, equally comfortably.

As soon as the session ended, Sasha sold the door, calculating that the $100 would cover three mani/pedis, which was a much better legacy and would help her think more favorably of her deceased parents.

Not being the reading sort, she missed the next day’s report on how a local junk dealer found a bag of diamonds stashed in a car door and closed his business so he could take his family to their new home in Tahiti for the winter.

“It was the door of healing,” Sasha said proudly to her friend Rick, just before he dozed off.

Just for Fun: The Throne

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The Throne

by Rebekah Postupak

for Monday Mixer

It was an audacious undertaking. But we knew every canard and believed ourselves immortal. Up the glacier we went, scrambling over the rough moraine into its blinding whiteness, each armed only with a stick-and-stone stiletto and bravado.

Marre vanished first, the ice crumbling beneath her. We pressed on, hearts in throats, not looking back.

Jezzi tumbled next, seized quick as lightning by a mountain cat; followed hard after by Jerra, whose hysterical form left not even a shadow. We pushed on faster, choking back tears and snow.

Only two of us made it to the top: Erria and me, and I, blue-lipped and triumphant, reached the Tree first. Erria fell to her knees and mumbled something obsequious. I, the youngest Ice Queen in ten generations!

I turned to survey the vast, frigid depths and my exultation faded. My kingdom, yes—if I could survive long enough to let them know.

150 words

Overachiever attempt: 5/9 words. See contest rules here.

Flash Points: Fraser McFraze

FlashPoints3

Welcome to Flash Points. Every Monday we stick one of the previous Friday’s entries under a sparklyscope (it slices, it dices, it even makes julienne fries) and talk about it right in front of its face, dragon style. What makes writing “good”? Specifically, what makes great flash? What about this particular piece really works? Let the discussion begin!

Prompt: orchard ladder

Word limit: 100 exactly

Today’s chosen flash piece:  The Philosophical Carpenter, by Fraser McFraze

Ain’t much to a ladder, is there?

No, I don’t mean anything by it, I suppose. Just—well, a little lumber, load of plain rungs, a few nails and see here, what the hands of man have made!

I tell you, simple thing like a ladder but reaching so high up there, sky all blue like that, it’s almost like there’s —well, I dunno. It just makes me feel there’s meaning to life, you know?

Well, looks like it’s about time. I’ll hold it steady down here, like that, and you’d best be heading on up.

Take your noose, now.

What works:

Flash Points welcomes Fraser back into the lab (hiya, Fraze!). In the comments of this week’s contest, he and others broached an interesting topic: what is the nature of flash? With economy of words comes a forced economy of plot and character as well; just how much can be achieved in the narrow confines of flash? While it’s true flash often relies on a twist, that final line which turns a story on its head, the best pieces pull off so much more.

This week I’d love to invite y’all into the lab with me. We can use Fraser’s story above as a starting point, but I welcome your thoughts. How do you approach flash fiction? Do you focus on character (and character growth—is that even possible)? Plot? the twist? setting? Or are you, like an impressionist, working to convey an emotion or state of mind?

The Philosophical Carpenter certainly contains many of these elements. The story is presented in apostrophe, with an implied, silent listener. We have a single, clear voice, that of a reasonably friendly, chatty workman who takes advantage of his captive audience and mindless labor to ponder deeper things. But only for a moment! because duty calls. And ohhh is the twist ever a good (though gruesome) one, that the seemingly benign task and workman… aren’t.

Finally, in this scene our protagonist considers truth beyond himself but shrugs it off. That act, too, adds to our horror of what is really happening in this scene. He could have grown, could have changed, perhaps, but chooses not to. This character’s confrontation and ultimate refusal to consider something larger adds a layer of depth to the story that takes it beyond a really cool twist and creative dialogue. Good. Stuff.

Your turn:

This is the part where you jump in. Here are the questions on the table: How do you approach flash fiction? Do you focus on character/character growth? Plot? the twist? setting? Or do you attempt to simply paint an emotion or state of mind?